Categories
Politics Projects & Ideas

Parlio

Parlamentary political activity usually has two sides in the modern democracies of the west. On the first side, you get the visual, staged dramatization, ready for night news consumption, of the debates and arguments between the most prominent political representatives. On the other, there are all the bureocracy rituals, anchored in the nineteenth century foundation of this particular way of embodying political action.

Making this rituals of power more understandable for citizens, quantifying them and exposing lazyness and contradictions of politicians are some of the objectives of Parlio. They focus their activity on the Basque Parliament, the legislative body of the Basque Country autonomous community of Spain. In their own words:

We take the data from the Basque Parliament’s official site and we bring it to the people in a much more user friendly way, so we can really know what the politicians are doing… and what they are not.

However, as usual in public service websites in Spain, where there is no access to information law (the largest EU country without that law, according to Access-Info), the data in the Basque Parliament official website is not provided in a standard format and is not easily re-usable by third parties. Parlio, then, has also the secondary function of translating that data to structured formats, where mashups and other web 2.0 magic trickery takes place. The ruby module that scraps the content out of the Basque Parliament website is avaliable here with a MIT license, so you can, too gather the data for your own purposes. It seems that the whole Parlio website, also in Ruby, will be open sourced at some point. The whole Parlio website has been also open sourced (updated 7.12.09).

In fact, Parlio is funded by Pro Bono Publico, a spanish open association that promotes the use of free and open standards, data and technological platforms in the public institutions. They are looking for designers and developers with any level of expertise to help them shape other projects around public institutions and transparency.

This project was submitted through the front page form by Ana Malagon, one of the developers of Parlio.

Categories
Economy Politics Projects & Ideas

Follow the money

You follow drugs, you get drug addicts and drug dealers. But you start to follow the money, and you don’t know where the fuck it’s gonna take you.
Detective Lester Freamon.

The European Union is one of the most cryptic and opaque political insitutions, much more than some of the governments and states that is comprised of. That opacity includes the European Union budget, its subsidies, and how and to whom this money is distributed, which is very hard for citizens to understand.

Some journalists, transparency NGOs and analysts have started Follow The Money, to shed some light in the way money is spent and given by european institutions. This site builds upon the work of farmsubsidy.org, which used laws of access to information and new transparency rules on financial regulation in the EU to report on who was getting the farm subsidies money.

FollowTheMoney.eu aims to make it easier for European citizens to understand the EU budget: how it gets decided, where the money comes from and how it is spent. FollowTheMoney.eu comes from journalists, researchers and activists who want to make the European Union work in a more transparent and accountable way.

The team has released a companion to farmsubsidy.org, called fishsubsidy.org. This time, obviously, the focus is on money granted to fishing industries.

You can find issues where some action is needed, as well as events to attend and participate in the front page of Follow The Money. If you are really into transparency and budgetting and want to get involved with this project, you can find more about becoming part of the team in the about page.

This project was found via Furilo.

Categories
News & Media Projects & Ideas

Knowmore.org

Knowmore.org is a site that gathers information on corporations and their products, in order for people to have better and informed choices.

We are a grassroots, web-based community dedicated to chronicling and resisting corporate attacks on democracy, worker’s and human rights, fair trade, business ethics and the environment. Our shared goal of a more informed and conscious consumer is being accomplished via this website: a vast database of easily searchable corporate and political info designed to aid responsible citizens, progressive thinkers and activists.

Ethical Consumerism is an important movement toward corporate reform, through which individuals recognize their own role in systems of oppression, and take personal steps toward resistance and positive change.

They site rates the performance of a company in five different areas or issues: workers’ rights, human rights, environment, political influence and business ethics.  Knowmore was conceived and founded by independent hip hop artists B. Dolan and Sage Francis.

Find how you can participate in this project.

Categories
Politics Projects & Ideas

We Rebuild

We Rebuild defines itself is a cluster of net activists. Their main focus of attention seems to be to keep internet free of surveillance from governments and corporations, and to fight net neutrality threats.

These issues span over many subjects and areas, which are reflected in a breadth of competences and opinions. There are no leaders, nor members. We Rebuild is simply an international chaotic event, and our actions can not be predicted in detail.

Who are we? There really is no “we”, because we are also you. When acting as We Rebuild, we put all personal or political views aside, focusing on our target – rebuilding the world and saving the internets.

See a FAQ here.

Categories
Art & Craft Projects & Ideas

Radical Cross Stitch

Radical Cross Stitch is an australian blog and wiki dedicated to political DIY craft, with the aim to create a community for this kind of projects.

What we are underutilising is the potential for crafts to express our rage at the stupidity of the world, demonstrate our vision for how to do things better and at the same time honour our mothers, grandmothers and great-great-great grandmothers. Women (and men) are rarely getting together to create community based craft projects designed to express a creative vision for a better world.